First Nations leader calls on British Columbians to ‘take to the street’ to repel tar sands industry offensive

Introduction by Roger Annis

September 22, 2013–This past week, ministers of the federal government of Canada have flooded into the province of British Columbia to press the government’s and oil industry’s case in favour of ‘full steam ahead’ on fossil fuel

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, photo Canadian Press

extraction projects, most notably the construction of two tar sands pipelines from Alberta to the BC coast.

Below is an important article reporting of the views of Grand Chief Stuart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs about this ministerial onslaught.

CBC News has also reported in depth on Grand Chief’s Phillip’s response to the ministers, including an interview on CBC Radio One’s The House on Sept. 21.

The two pipeline proposals–Enbridge’s Northern Gateway line to Kitimat and Kinder Morgan’s expansion of Trans Mountain to Vancouver and Washington state–are facing deep opposition and therefore in deep trouble. Opponents are concerned about land and marine spills of the toxic, bitumen product the lines will carry. They are equally concerned about the threat to the Earth’s ecosystem by continued exploitation of the Alberta tar sands and burning of fossil fuels.

Grand Chief Phillip’s call to ‘take to the street’ to oppose the tar sands industry assault could not be more timely. Greenpeace campaigner Keith Stewart is reporting that CN Rail and Nexen Corporation have been in talks with the Canadian government to launch an oil-by-rail scheme from Alberta to Prince Rupert BC that could see as many as seven, 100-wagon oil trains per day rolling to the coast. CN boasts that this would be the equivalent quantity as Northern Gateway.

Chief Phillip’s call should apply with equal vigour to the big expansions of coal mining, natural gas fracking and export of both products that are growing alarmingly in BC. I’m quite certain that he would concur with this.

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After meetings with federal ministers, Chief Stewart Phillip urges British Columbians to take to the street

Ministers’ visit foreshadows Harper’s plan to declare pipelines “in the national interest”, the head of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs tells the Vancouver Observer

By Linda Solomon, publisher, Vancouver Observer, Sept. 20, 2013

After two meetings this month with top federal ministers that convinced him Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to declare Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines in “the national interest,”  Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, is urging British Columbians to take to the streets.

“My message to those who have been very diligent in their efforts to bring their concerns forward about the possibilities of catastrophic oil spills and oil line ruptures is, ‘Now is the time to bring these issues into the street, to be visible and vocal while these federal officials are in BC.

“‘They need to see and hear from BC the types of things we were seeing last fall and winter when there were many, many marches and rallies that were giving public expression to the collective opposition to pipeline proposals.  We need to see evidence of that immediately.”

… See the full article on the Vancouver Observer at the link above.

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